Thursday, March 30, 2017
FOETAL JUICE - Masters of Absurdity
At first I was going to pass on writing about this one but this band is so campy that I couldn't leave it alone. FOETAL JUICE hail from England and have been around since 2007. Over all of that time they've been purveyors of the short form release (aka: EPs, Splits and Singles). I've never heard anything by em before but now I'm curious about their Big Trouble in Little Vagina EP from 2013 and their Albert Grindstein single a year afterwards.
Musically this their first full length is a mixed bag of death metal, death & roll, grind and groove metal. Toss in a whole lot of camp plus brutality, duel vocals (one acid tinged the other growls) and decent musicianship as far as the genre's old school standards go. Yeah I know this has been done before but in the death metal genre it just sounds so much better because the thrash denizons sound too pathetic.
ALASTOR - Black Magic
Twin Earth Records
On this band's Bandcamp page there's a comment saying "for fans of ELECTRIC WIZARD and WINDHAND." So I was thinking well that's not very nice. Seriously are we talking about the cool early era of ELECTRIC WIZARD or the latter repetitive boring era of ELECTRIC WIZARD because there is a difference. As far as the WINDHAND reference well They put out a great debut unfortunately they keep repeating it over and over and over and over again.
OK I'm done with that point but here we have this four piece act from Sweden who don't want to reveal themselves to the public. Hmmm, should've thought about that before you put your band photo on Facebook. But anyways this debut EP of there's does till the same row as the above mentioned bands. It's stoner riff-centric almost to the point of being a "jam band". There's three cuts on here, two of which are over the ten minute mark and the short format release works for them because they are cool songs.
There's a lot of cool things going on within these three cuts that a typical bong head (yeah you had to buy it as a "water pipe", LOL!) will overlook because they're stoned out of their gourd. First off the lead guitar work is fantastic. All hail the Voxx wah wah pedal. Secondly the vocals being held back in the mix to give em an airy mystical feel. This is Occult Psych Stoner Rock by the way. Finally the catchiest tune on here, "Nothing to Fear".
Saturday, March 25, 2017
MORDBRAND - Wilt
I came to know Sweden's MORDBRAND back before I went into blogger retirement with their Necropsychotic EP which came out on Deathgasm Records in 2011. At that time there were plenty of decent bands reviving the raw old sounds of the death metal genre's past. MORDBRAND sounded like they were not willing to just be another member of the new wave of old school Swedish death metal. That was proven in the summer of 2014 when Deathgasm released MORDBRAND's first full length, Imago. On that one, MORDBRAND gave the genre's proud design an upgrade without taking anything away from the traditional brutality. They just added some subtle tweaks and if you call that progressive or forward thinking I'll punch you in the face. I just call it modern death metal which should sound like death metal.
So of course with this new one my hopes of greatness were high. The opener "Bleed into Nought" starts out kinda melodic but then the song eventually rips into almost blackened territory ala MARDUK. This release definitely has a blackened death feel. Think DISMEMBER meets DISSECTION which bulldozes over you with thick riffs, powerful drumming and of course some of the best blood spitting vocals around. Plenty of melody meets devistation and it's just three guys who bring on the hate factor. Hands down one of the greatest releases of 2017.
COLDBORN - Lingering Voidwards
Final Sacrifice Records
Wow, three quarters of an hour's worth of cold atmospheric black metal from Belgium in the middle of March. Thank you, I was getting a little tired of hearing Irish music for the past two weeks. (Please note I work at an Irish Pub/Restaurant.) Let me also add that while I wait for the new NIGHTBRINGER release to come out in April, this is kinda cool. Let me explain, COLDBORN is a one man project by a guy named Norgaath who also plays bass for NIGHTBRINGER live. Well he did and who knows what's up with that gig but there's the connection/name dropping saga.
As far as this release goes it's not so solo since Norgaath also has a few guests like Menthor of ENTHRONED and NIGHTBRINGER fame on drums. He's also got A. Krieg of DARKMOON WARRIOR and Nocturus Horrendus of CORPUS CHRISTII (great fuckin band) as guest vocalists. It must be nice to have friends like that. Musically it's five long cuts of basic atmospheric black metal. That's not a bad thing in my not so humble opinion. Midway through the song "In the Absence of Light, Death Gazes" there's a slowly tremolo picked riff (ala IMMORTAL) that's so inviting and shall I say psych that it carries you into a very cool late night realm. By the way it's around 1:30 AM. The cavernous vocals help out as well.
Other cuts of interest are the title cut which is about as epic and majestic as a depressive cut could be. Then there's "Withered" which starts out like a black metal version of the STOOGES'. It's the riffs there people. Albeit still in a body of grimness which the cold icy following riffs accelerate towards and a melodic interlude that follows. Hey like I said, it's basic but comforting especially late at night. I wouldn't be surprised if Moribund Records re-releases this later this year.
DEIVOS - Endemic Divine
Strangely enough I am familiar with this band. Years ago in fact I got this Polish death metal band's Gospel of Maggots release. It was recommended to me from a friend who was a huge Polish death metal fan and actually knew VADER's Piotr Wiwczarek. This was all six or seven years ago, a good time for death metal as it were. The old school revival of the genre was in full bloom. I was picking up everything and anything DM especially if it came with a seal of approval.
Fast forward to now, DEIVOS is still around and here with their fifth full length. They get tagged as tech death but don't let that scare you off. This is not metal gymnastics with a drummer doing somersaults or guitar pyrotechnics that drive you insane or boredom. DEIVOS always knew how to pair their technical DM quality with old school brutality. They have a lot in common with a few USDM acts which is why I like em.
Brutal surgery is what this new release is all about. You listen to a song like "Dust of the Universe" or "Courtesan" (more cowbell) and afterwards wonder if you've been operated on. Seriously where are the fuckin stitches? Add to that the eight cuts on here all have great aggressive riffs that will keep you shaking like a bleeding patient in a hospital waiting room. Vocally it's a bark fest of total abuse. Do I sound like a bias fan or what? Pardon me I've got to call an old friend to tell her about this new DEIVOS release.
MIDNIGHT - Shox of Violence
Hell's Headbangers Records
Not one but two VENOM covers? What is it, my birthday? Actually it was when this landed on me. Shox of Violence is the latest compilation by Cleveland's favorite punk/metal hybrid act MIDNIGHT. Yes it is a compilation (Complete and Total MIDNIGHT three?) containing the four tracks from last years Shox of Violence 12"er for starters and follows up with tracks from splits, a bunch of covers (GIRLSCHOOL, PAGANS, THE SPITS, SCARAB, CRUCIFIXION, TAIPAN, MISTREATER and QUIET RIOT plus the earlier mentioned VENOM and an uncredited cover of the SONICS) and some kinda funny live tracks and demos.
This is a collection suited for long time fans of the band of which I am. Also for people who don't/can't buy every short format release the band puts out because we know sooner or later it'll be on a CD comp. So as far as highlights go; "Sadist Sodomystic Seducer" an original track which appeared on a split MIDNIGHT did with Detroit's own sick bastards SHITFUCKER. I saw them together on that tour a while back. Then of course there's the VENOM covers, "Too Loud for the Crowd" which is from a Decibal magazine flexi and "In League With Satan". Add to that the uncredited cover of the SONICS' "The Witch" which is like the fortith cover version I've heard.
Big surprise was four SPITS covers which come from MIDNIGHT's Slay the Spits 7"er from 2007. And speaking on punk fuckin rock there's the two PAGANS' covers, hometown heroes to MIDNIGHT. There's also the covers of TAIPAN and MISTREATER from the USA Violates Australia 2013 7"er. As far as the live tracks go, probably the best cut on here is their live version of "Unholy and Rotten" for only what ensues during the performance. I don't wanna give anything away. All in all another great must have comp by MIDNIGHT.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
VOIDTHRONE - Spiritual War Tactics
Every once in a while, OK maybe once a month, I hear complaints about the black metal scene here in the states. There's too much experimentation, too much BURZUM worship, too much drone, too much post-this or that, too many hipsters. Alright I'll give ya that but the fact is the people complaining are just seeing what floats on the surface. If they actually dug deeper, as any really dedicated music fan would do, then they'd find the good stuff.
Case in point, here we have the debut full length release by VOIDTHRONE a four piece act who hail from Seattle, Washington. Don't let their home location throw you off the cliche cliff. This band takes the essence of what made early USBM unique amongst it's peers. They bring on the brutality and add copious amounts of disturbing dissonance most likely influenced by middle European contemporaries. The result is a four song release of blackened death and at times doom-ish.
Calling their creative output on Spiritual War Tactics as songs is simplifying things. These are four complex compositions, three of which surpass the nine minute mark. Each one has a barrage of tempo diversions be they moments of creepy hypnotic atmospheres or fast flairs of crushing pain. The vocals bounce around from warlock shrieks to cavernous growls. All of which makes for a potent combination and a unique release especially for a fairly new band. If the wanna-be naysayers have a problem with this one then they should just go listen to Beyonce and go away.
FORGJORD - Uhripuu
Werewolf Records/Hells Headbangers
What type of hell has been unleashed on me here? As I've said many times before but bares repeating. Doing SFM666 is actually a learning experience because I don't care who the fuck you think you are, you don't know everything. Case in point, FORGJORD another Finnish black metal band who's release comes to us easily through another Werewolf Records/Hells Headbangers collaboration. This band, a two piece act, are completely new to me. They've got a history that goes back to 2008 as far as releases go, even further if you count demo material. I have no idea how their early material sounds but as far as this one goes I'll say it's a unique beast.
Basically FORGJORD take the bestial and grim elements of their blackened Finnish kinsmen then add layers of ingredients to enhance atmosphere and depth such as industrial accents, orchestral elements and acoustic touches. The overall effect is genuine if not an altogether original direction. I don't get out of the tradition blackened circle much. FORGJORD seem to do so and add melodic tremolo riffs drenched in icey waters. They'll even toss in plenty of straight up thrash riffage or hardcore. There's nine cuts on here, each one unique from the other which is definitely a surprise for a black metal album. 2017 is really looking damm good for Finnish black metal.
GOATMOON - Stella Polaris
Werewolf Records/Hells Headbangers
Unless you're an aficionado in Finnish black metal, have an affinity for Goat named bands or are just fucking lucky (I fall in with the last two) then GOATMOON is familiar to you. GOATMOON is BlackGoat Gravedesecrator aka: Jaakko Lahde, a one man black metal act, who I became familiar with years ago. I have a few of his previous releases, two of which I recommend; Finnish Steel Storm from 2007 and Varjot from 2011. I also have his debut full length Death Before Dishonour from 2004 but even with my low standards I couldn't recommend that to anyone without a disclaimer. When I went into blogger retirement I lost track of his work though now I see he has been fairly prolific.
GOATMOON has gone the full GRAVELAND route, in that Jaakko Lahde has followed a similar path. Both are one man black metal acts who started out as raw sounding but it later days allowed some folk and very clean production into the sound. I heard this on Varjot and obviously on Stella Polaris (albeit I've missed some things in-between) it's really evident. Maybe calling GOATMOON a one man act is not right anymore since on here Jaakko Lahde just does the vocals and has a band behind him including a keyboardist and someone handling the wind instruments (flute and tin whistle).
While Jaakko Lahde still keeps the blackened side of this as feral as possible albeit cleaner, the folk parts are somewhat simplistic. Been there done that would be the best description.
Brought to you by DEATH BY HOPS, the official beer of DEATH METAL as far as I'm concerned. Welcome to March or how I dub it, The March ov Death Metal. If you'd like to learn more about this beer and the Olde Hickory Brewery in North Carolina then go to the website below:
Remember when you pronounce the name you must do it in that Corpsegrinder voice. So what else is up?
Well starting now I'm dropping the rating system. To me these days it just doesn't work anymore. Seriously (hold it I need a sip of Death By Hops) it seems petty to place a number on a release. Secondly since restarting the blog I only write about things that matter or are interesting. Hell 90% of what I write about deserves a 5/5 anyway.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
WHITE DEATH - Self Titled
Werewolf Records/Hells Headbangers
Finnish black metal released by Werwolf of SATANIC WARMASTER's own label Werewolf Records, in conjunction with Hells Headbangers, where do I start? Well first off this is partly in the spirit of True Finnish Black Metal in that this five piece act do bring the filth and fury of their forefathers to bear, maybe more so. They also take a few cues from their fellow Scandinavian brothers in blackness.
When the release started off I thought it was like SARGEIST on speed. Yeah I know if you're not into Finnish black metal then you won't get that analogy. Let me put it this way, once this thing starts it's a relentless attack of savage proportions. There's eight tracks on here and for the first seven you feel like you've been mauled by a bunch of rabid harpies for thirty minutes. It's not until the eighth and final track "White Death's Power" where they allow an acoustic guitar intro to sneak in just for a moment of course.
As I said earlier WHITE DEATH are a five piece act from Finland. They started out in 2013 and have a couple of small format releases to show for it. Those being a self titled 7"er and a split with another Finnish band FORLOR, both of those were released by the German label Darker than Black Records. Also their songs from those releases, "Born from the Unholy Fire" and "Commandant" are on this their debut full length as well.
WHITE DEATH are fully steeped in traditional 90's black metal. We're talking furious tremolos, the blastbeats that bludgeon and with a vocalist who must have icicles for tonsils. Although the band isn't all about punishing the listener. They add some keyboards there and about more as a background touch then to add atmosphere to the mood. The band also has a sense of inclusion for example the song "Kaste" starts out as black n roll before moving into HORNA / BEHEXEN territory. Also the before mentioned final cut sounds like blackened Oi.
For whatever it's worth while I listened to this the first time there was a storm raging outside. Wanna take a guess who won? That's right, not even a severe thunderstorm can compete with the fury of Finnish black metal. Werwolf knows how to pick em.
DEAD WITCHES - Ouija
Heavy Psych Sounds
Usually when I'm checking out some unknown band I just play the music and do something without reading a word of their bio. I like the surprise if it's good that is. After an intro consisting of the sounds of a rainstorm (hello SABBATH) plus some Hammond organ and guitar torturing the actual opening cut "Dead" commences. First thoughts, alright it's like ELECTRIC WIZARD with a female singer also more occult psych, less bong worship. Hell if that wasn't spot on.
DEAD WITCHES is the latest project from Mark Greening former drummer for RAMESSES and ELECTRIC WIZARD. The female vocalist is Virginia Monti who also fronts the Italian band PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT (recommended if you're also into 70's style occult themed rock). The band is rounded out by Carl Geary on bass and Greg Elk on guitar. The unfortunately sad thing is that Greg Elk passed away last year. It's one thing to speak ill of the dead which I've never had a problem with. On the other hand and in this case the guy did a great job on here so there's praise he'll never know about.
Ouija is just a damm great album of thick lava lamp goo riffs, hypnotic leads, a rumbling rhythm section and Virginia Monti's gutsy yet bluesy vocals. The first true cut "Dead" is a slow burner but on the follow-up "Drawing Down the Moon" the band picks up some speed to rock out with Monti's vocals coming across more feral. The latter two cuts " “Mind Funeral” and "A World of Darkness" really bring out the heavy with Geary's bass making way like a behemoth.
Like I said this is a great album but with Elk's passing and Monti's day job in PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT, who have a new album coming out this year, one wonders if the magic will continue on. I was just outside taking a smoke break on the back deck enjoying the warm evening before the coming storm forecasted later tonight. I was pondering just that when I spotted a bat flying around, feeding actually on the gnats. I wonder was that a sign?
SUNLIGHT'S BANE - The Blackest Volume Like All Earth Was Buried
There was a time when the yardstick for comparing good grindcore was how they measured to bands like NAPALM DEATH, BRUTAL TRUTH and early CARCASS (now called the classics). Then after working their way up the ladder PIG DESTROYER completely redifined the genre a decade ago. So for years now they have been the standard bearer for the extreme be it grind and in some instances modern hardcore (which I lovingly refer to as crap). Michigan 's SUNLIGHT'S BANE definitely has the roaring wall of intensity that reminds me of PIG DESTROYER. Strangely enough since one of the band members is sporting a ANAAL NATHRAKH hoodie in their promo photo I was gonna say they're going that path as well, aka: black metal, although I would never call this blackened grind.
According to the band's bio, and I'm paraphrasing here, they're not happy with the contemporary sound and presentation of modern extreme music. So with this their debut full length they hope to move beyond the average and create something new, more abrasive and threatening. OK I'm cool with that but the first couple of cuts on here are contemporary pummeling, face rippers. Yeah they slow it up after a few riffs but the tempo face punch is still there. I've been listening to this stuff for a long while in this post PIG DESTROYER genre world. Hell the last time I was really impressed was back in 2011 when I reviewed a split CD by two French powerviolence bands. I thought that was amazing since the last time the French were not in a surrending mode was when they pushed the Romans out of Gaul. And they weren't even French then.
It's not until the fifth track, "I Am the Cold, Harsh Whispers In Hell" where things finally get somewhat interesting. The band cuts away from blugeoning and allows some paced blackened death to seep though their chaos. The following cut, "Dance of Thorns" also allows their wannabe blackened influence to come out. Their drummer needed a break probably since everything slows down to a snail's pace. Shall I go on? No I won't because at first listen I thought this was cool and interesting. After a few more plays I'm like, OK everyone has a vision. This band needs to work on there's.